Alcohol Research Paper

Alcohol Research Paper

Today nobody doubts that man’s dependence on the so-called psychoactive matters (alcohol or drugs) is the serious illness. So, if it is the illness, it means that it must have special origin, the laws and mechanisms of development, and also and the preparations for recovery. Influenza is caused by a virus, violation of vessels’ conductivity in myocardium results in the heart attacks, and what results in alcoholism? Why do some people drink for a long time and do not become alcoholics, and others transform at once? How do our organisms differ? Can alcohol abuse result in the development of alcoholism?

In economically developed countries the amount of alcoholics among the population aggregates at least 5%. For example, in France 10% of the population abuse alcohol and only 4.4% have the illness alcoholism, so it means that nearly one half of abusing people suffer from alcoholism.

So, alcoholism is a disease, conditioned by systematic use of alcohol drinks; it shows up in a permanent intoxication requirement, disorders of psychical activity, somatic and neurological violations, decreasing of capacity, loss of social connections and degradation of personality. The Journal of the American Medical Association defines alcoholism as “a primary, chronic disease characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking.” (cited in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

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But what is alcohol? What kind of substance is it? “Chemistry distinguishes several types of alcohols. Some members of alcohol family are methyl alcohol (methanol), isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol (ethanol). The first two alcohols are toxic and would only be consumed accidentally. Ethanol is ht substance people drink, under the familiar name of alcohol”(Muriel Vogel-Sprott, 1992, p.7).

Alcoholism as an illness is characterized by four syndromes which determine the stages of illness. They are the syndrome of the changed reactivity (disappearance of protective reactions, capacity for systematic use of alcohol, amnesias during the period of intoxication), the syndrome of psychical dependence (attraction to intoxication – so-called psychical obsessive attraction, psychical discomfort in abstinent condition and improvement of psychical functions in the state of intoxication), the syndrome of physical dependence (physical (irrepressible) requirement in intoxication, loss of control after the amount of alcohol, displays of abstinence, improvement of physical functions in a state of intoxication) and the syndrome of consequences of chronic intoxication in psychical, neurological, somatic spheres and social activity.

Among psychical consequences it is obvious to observe: asthenia, psychopathization, decline of personality (loss of interests, moral values), highly emotional disorders (affective)-fluctuations of mood, depressions, dystrophies with aggressiveness and suicide tendencies, in some cases – dementia; characteristic display of the so-called alcoholic humour; there can be the psychotic states of delirious, paranoid hallucinatory syndromes) and chronic states such as hallucinosis, Korsakoff’s syndrome).

Neurological consequences can be presented by acute brain syndrome – epileptiform, cerebellar syndromes, syndromes of striapallidar insufficiency- peripheral neuritis, atrophy of optic, auditory nerves. Somatic consequences are the affection of the cardiovascular system, breathing organs, stomach, liver and pancreas, kidneys, polyglandular insufficiency of endocrine system, immune exhaustion.

The appearance of syndrome of chronic intoxication depends not only on the stage of illness, remoteness and degree of alcohol abuse but also on the constitution vulnerability of the separate systems of organism; social consequences – on the terms of labor and way of life. The toxic signs of intoxication diminish on a background of a domestic drunkenness (including the next morning head pain, brokenness, absence of appetite, slackness); the sedative action of alcohol decreases; both in intoxication and abstinent condition there is the increase of vitality, mood, motor activity; appetite, sleep, sexual sphere are not violated.

Alcoholism has three main stages. The duration of the first stage is from 1 to 4-5 years. It is characterized by the presence of syndrome of psychical dependence. The second stage lasts for 5-15 years. This period has the syndrome of changed reactivity and physical dependence. Moreover sharp stoppage of drunkenness causes the abstinent syndrome in the form of sympathicotonic overexcitation in psychical and somatoneurological spheres. The third stage has the duration of 5-10 years. It is characterized by all 4 syndromes of alcoholism, including deep intoxication with its consequences in all spheres of the organism.

So, there is no such an organ in a human organism which is not collapsed from any dose of alcohol. But brain and cardio-vascular system suffer mostly. If the concentration of alcohol in blood is 1 point, in liver it will be 1,45, in cerebrospinal fluid- 1,50, and in cerebrum – 1,75. Exactly there this poison accumulates most f all. After drinking of mug of beer, glass of wine, 100 grams of vodka – the alcohol contained in these drinks is absorbed in blood and it goes to the brain with blood stream and the process of intensive destruction of cerebral cortex begins.

Here what happens when alcohol through a stomach and intestine gets into blood: in the ordinary state the external surface of erythrocytes is covered with a thin layer of «greasing» which electrifies at a friction near the walls of vessels. Every erythrocyte carries a unidirectional negative charge, and that is why they have primordially a characteristic to push off from each other. Alcohol is a good solvent; it deletes this protective layer and takes off electric tension. As a result red corpuscles instead of pushing off, begin to stick together, forming more large groups. A process goes according to a principle of snow ball and the size grows with the amount of drunken alcohol.

Sometimes the diameter of capillaries in separate parts of body (brain, retina of eye) is so small, that red corpuscles literally “squeeze” through them one by one, quite often moving apart the walls of capillaries here. The smallest diameter of capillary is 50 times thinner than a human hairline, equals 8 microns (0,008 mm), the smallest diameter of red corpuscles is 7 microns (0,007 mm). Therefore it is obvious that a formation, containing several red corpuscles, is not able to move through capillaries. Moving through branching treelike arteries, and then through arterioles of smaller and smaller caliber, at last it reaches the arteriole, which has a diameter, smaller than a clot, and recovers it, fully halting a blood stream in it, consequently, blood supply of separate groups of cerebrum neurons is stopped. Clots have a wrong form and contain 200 – 500 red corpuscles on the average; their middle size is nearly 60 microns. There are separate clots which contain thousands of red corpuscles. Certainly, the blood clots of such sizes are recovered by arterioles of not so small caliber.

For large vessels (in a hand, in a leg), gluing together of red corpuscles does not present special danger on the initial stages of alcohol intake. Treachery of alcohol is also that the organism of a young man possesses the considerable, approximately 10-multiple supply of capillaries, therefore in young days violations of the circulatory system and their consequence show up not so obviously, as in more late years.

However in the course of time the «supply» of capillaries is gradually closed, and the consequences of alcohol poisoning becomes more perceptible. At the modern level of the use of alcohol a “middle” in a certain way man “suddenly” faces different ailments in age about 30 years. It can be illness of stomach, liver, cardio-vascular system, neuroses and disorders in the sexual sphere. However, illnesses can be most unexpected: the action of alcohol is universal; in fact, it strikes all of organs and systems of human organism. After 100 grams of vodka forever more than 8 thousand of actively workings cells die out at one moment.

But there is an interesting fact that alcohol is used for the treatment of some cardio-vascular disorders.” Although light-to-moderate drinking can protect against coronary artery disease, heavy alcohol consumption can damage the cardiovascular system, resulting in maladies such as heart muscle disorders, irregular heart rhythms, high blood pressure, and strokes.” (Sam Zakhari, 1997, p.1)

One more fact about alcohol which is vitally important is that if you are sick and you get medical preparations, alcohol must be eliminated fully. It seriously influences the enzymic systems of liver that can result in serious consequences, up to fatal. In fact liver gets the double loading: it has to processed the components of medicine and at the same time alcoholic substances. Drinking of alcohol is absolutely inadmissible and forbidden, when a man uses such preparations as neuroleptics, analgesics, antiphlogistic, soporific, diuretic and antidepressants. Alcohol can not only grade their effect but also change properties of the preparations, making their action unforeseeable and dangerous.

And at last, speaking about treatment, it must be mentioned that alcohol dependence can not be cured at home, so special treatment is conducted in narcological dispensaries and hospitals, in the specialized separations and chambers of mental hospitals by experts in narcology and psychiatrists. The main tasks of the treatment is the removal of abstinent syndrome, consequences of intoxication, suppression of appetence, creation of impossibility (sensitizing) to use alcohol, change of attitude toward drunkenness (psychotherapy re-orientation, hypnosis).

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